Beef cattle producers may find themselves on the, well, horns of a dilemma regarding replacement heifers. They can raise them or sell them.

They may want to “take the money and run,” says Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economist Stan Bevers, Vernon.

It’s becoming an all too familiar situation among Texas ranchers Bevers said at the Texas A&M Beef Cattle Short Course.

“We looked at what the market is right now for replacement heifers,” he said. “We were targeting heavy bred heifers, and they were anywhere from $1,650 to $2,300 a head. The second number was what it was costing the rancher to raise them themselves.

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 “One operation we tracked (included) heifers weaned in 2010 and 2011, (and) what those heifers were and what their accumulated expenses were over the two years to the point where they were heavy bred. Their expenses totaled $1,100 to $1,400 a head. That ranch was pretty efficient and did a good job of reducing their expenses.”


Bevers said since this ranch was located in Oklahoma, one would need to add $300 to $400 a head to that for Texas ranchers and regional market prices to develop replacement heifers.

 “That comes out to $1,400 to $1,800 to develop replacement heifers in Texas,” Bevers said.

Read more about ranchers’ replacement heifer options here.